SDI goes nuclear

April 05, 1991

Here we are with Star Wars XXVI, subtitled: SDI goes nuclear.

When Ronald Reagan came up with his strategic defense initiative almost a decade ago, opponents said it was too expensive and scientists said it wouldn't work. Because they were right, what we call Star Wars today bears little relation to the original plan. Only the name hasn't been changed, to protect the funding.

The latest wrinkle is to send nuclear rockets aloft. The Federation of American Scientists worries of the threat nuclear material in space could pose through such common occurrences as accidents. "It's wasting taxpayers' money on an idea that is stupid and possibly dangerous," said a spokesman.

The world of today and the first part of tomorrow is markedly different from the world of 10 years ago. The Cold War has ended, for one important thing. Finding yet another new version of Star Wars would be creating an expensive defense for which there is no probable offense and keep alive the fears that Star Wars itself was the offensive system.

Obviously America needs a strong defense. But we also need a realistic one. Instead of nuclear pie-in-the-sky, there are lots of problems here on Earth that could use a little of the attention Star Wars keeps getting, and a budget deficit that could use a break.

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